The Serpent had only spoken to Dr. Tormod MacInnes on one occasion—that being, of course, when it had bestowed its powers upon him and converted him into a sorcerer, approximately one week earlier. Other than that, it had never had any need to communicate, only to manipulate. A stray thought here, of apparently spontaneous origin, inserted into the doctor’s mind, an external hint there…that was all that was needed to bend him to its will. Scarcely any need for its silver tongue at all.
But now, to its displeasure, it would have to address him a second time. It had hoped that the Nuisance would have flown back to the Otherworld to assemble her forces, but no, the impertinent bitch had remained in its territory and was now, horror of horrors, mingling with its target.
It flicked its metaphysical tongue, irked.
Tormod, it called, bypassing the man’s ears and speaking directly into the auditory centers of his brain. It is I, your Servant and Master.
The human, under the convenient impression that it was some sort of god, fell to his knees in the shadow of the wall. “My lord,” he mumbled. “I listen!”
That is well. I am pleased by your reverence. But I come to you in warning, Tormod. There have been…complications.
“What sort o’ complications, yer almightiness?”
A Being has contacted your son, a most unpleasant, evil Being, and there is a possibility that such a Being may have alerted him to your presence. He may attempt to flee. I thought it best to warn you.
“I shall be prepared, an’ stop him if he does,” Dr. MacInnes pledged.
And if this does indeed come to pass, the Serpent continued, you must expect your son to travel in the presence of another.
No, another creature. A horrid, green-skinned merman to whom he has taken a fancy. Kill him, won’t you?
“Of course, my lord,” replied MacInnes. “I shall.”